Once upon a time, negative thinking was a survival mechanism - in today’s modern world it can both hold you back and bring you down. This is especially true for students, worrying about their grades, disappointing their parents, or how they will make their way in the world after college. Here are seven ways to help students not to fall into the trap of negative thinking.
Recognise those negative thoughts and step away from them
One of the most powerful ways to dispel negative thoughts is to recognise our thoughts are just that: thoughts. They are not real, they are not the truth, and they have no power to harm. Concentrate on letting negative thoughts pass through your mind and out again. Recognise them for what they are and let them go, putting a label on them if it helps.
Talk it out
Tell your tribe how you’re feeling. It’s an old adage but a true one: a problem shared is a problem halved, so talk about your concerns regarding negative thinking with one of your peers, a family member, or a teacher. It also helps to make you accountable if you tell a trusted person, and you can ask them to give you a caring nudge when they see you falling back into your negative habits.
Focus on the world around you and all its small joys. Live more in the moment, with gratitude, and notice everything around you: sounds, scents, and textures. Don’t engage in a mental dialogue, analysing everything, just sense it. “Mindfulness will help to pull you out of yourself and literally bring you back to your senses,” says Johnny Miller, a psychology writer at State of writing and Paper Fellows. “This simple technique can be practiced anywhere, even in your dorm room or while you are in class.”
Commit to a new set of beliefs
Write down a set of beliefs you aspire to adopting, and which will help you achieve your goals and, once you have identified them, commit to them fully. Recite them out loud and make them part of each and every day, identifying opportunities in your day-to-day life to put these beliefs into practice.
Adopt clear vision and planning
Plan, plan and then plan some more! Have a serious think about how you want the next two years of your life to look like - whether that’s studying or going out into the world of work - and plan out this vision step by step. A solid plan will help your thoughts to settle in a positive groove and stay positive.
Decide to pay attention
A good way to affirm positive thoughts is to focus fully on your environment, and life around you, and ascertain whether it is working for you or not. “Obviously not everything is under your control, especially as a student,” says Alka Patel, a journalist at Boom Essays and OX Essays, “but if there are little things you can change, then do so. Be alert and open!”
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Embrace those new experiences! Even they’re out of your comfort zone, give them a go! And if an experience doesn’t quite work out for you, knowing that you tried and you put yourself out there, will lead to feeling positive about yourself.
Stop thinking, act!
If your mind keeps playing the same old stories, write a new one! Think about what you want to create in a certain situation and work towards it. Passivity can be a real driver for negative thoughts, so doing rather than thinking can get you heading in the right direction.
Negative thinking can leave you feeling powerless, but there are tools you can arm yourself with to set you back on a positive track. Student life brings its own challenges but if you employ a set of steps to follow as above, positive thinking will be easier to achieve and so will success.
Rebecca Leigh is a writer on marketing strategy for Assignment writer and Academized. She contributes to tech and marketing conferences, is a business consultant, and writes articles for online magazines and blogs like Essay for sale.